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An item on this past Tuesday night’s City Commission agenda was for approval of the continuation of the Heron Peacock program for mentally-challenged city residents, which used old Navy Poinciana project housing where Florida Keys Outreach Coalition (FKOC) and Saumuels’ house also use old Navy housing. FKOC had agreed to take over the Heron Peacock program, and the lease needed to be assigned to FKOC. The item passed 6-1, as I recall the vote. City Commission Teri Johnston voted against it, she said, because she felt the housing should be turned into affordable housing for people and families who had no place to live. On the passage of that item, a letter to the editor in today’s Key West Citizen:
Saturday, April 5, 2014
As chair of Heron Peacock Supported Living, it is my pleasure to inform our community and all quality of life advocates that the Peacock Apartments were officially assumed by the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition on April 1.
The Heron Peacock Board has struggled for years to make the organization financially viable and made a proactive decision in November 2013 to approach the Rev. Steve Braddock and the FKOC to help us discern options that would ensure that the 32 mentally ill residents being housed and supported at the Peacock Apartments would have a secure future.
Closing the program was not an option for our vulnerable residents who could have run the risk of becoming homeless, hospitalized, or even incarcerated. The board felt strongly that it was in the best interest of the Peacock residents that the program, fixed assets and facility leases be transferred to FKOC, an organization similar to ours and with a proven track record for organizational excellence.
recognized our needs and that time was of the essence due to our precarious financial situation. He and his team moved swiftly to assess the physical condition of the buildings and have already secured private funding to remedy significant structural deficiencies caused by years of deferred maintenance due to lack of funds. Soon the noticeable improvements of the buildings and grounds will be seen.
It is my sincere hope that the community will respond with vigorous support for the heroic effort that FKOC is putting forth by assuming responsibility for the Peacock Apartments in Key West.
Meanwhile, Heron Peacock continues to operate the 16-bed licensed assisted living facility (ALF) in Marathon known as The Heron and fundraising will continue until such time as its services are assumed by another entity. Plans are in the works by the Guidance Clinic of the Middle Keys to acquire the Heron ALF license in July.
I had thought the City Commission would unanimously pass the item, because I understood the people living at the Peacock Apartments are incapble of looking out for themselves. They need affordable housing and assisted care. Where would they live, if not where they now live? On the street? Even so, I agree with Teri Johnston
that there is a crying need for a lot more affordable rental housing in Key West.
During citizen comments on that item last Tuesday night, I said I’d recently spoken with Araud and Naja Girard (who publish Key West the Newspaper – www.thebluepaper.com) about affordable housing. They said we don’t need any more hotels and motels, any more upscale condo developments, any more “affordable” housing for sale. What we need is more affordable rental housing. I said my definition of affordable rental housing is: if a waitress can afford it on her wages, it’s affordable; otherwise, it’s a joke, a lie.
I told Naja and Arnaud that I have a dear friend living in a Housing Authority apartment, who is on Social Security disability, who pays about 1/6 of it for rent and spends most of his monthly disability payment on booze and cigarettes. He is not going to change unless God changes him. If he did not have that apartment, he would be on the street, and then he would quickly be dead. I wish he was different, but he is not, and, sadly, there are a lot of people like him in Key West, who are getting help in ways which keep them under a roof and alive. Some of their names are well known in Key West and the Florida Keys. Some of them are considered respectable citizens. Yet because of their peculiar circumstances, they are getting by and probably never will need a place like Peacock Heron or a Housing Authority apartment in which to live.
Thank you Father Steve Braddock for stepping up and taking on what I rather imagine you did not want to step up and take on. But, as Jesus told his disciples somewhere in the Gospels: the work is great and the laborers are few; and as he said somewhere else to his disciples in the Gospels: we do not do this work to receive thanks from God or to be praised, but because it is our duty. Vaya con Dios, Steve.
In somewhat similar vein, Curtis Seltzer,
childhood friend of colorful Key West homeless man Frisbee Dave,
whose trilogy of splendid Frisbee Dave articles concluded in last week’s Key West the Newspaper – www.thebluepaper.com – shared this article with me, which I said I’d like to publish at goodmorningkeywest.com, and Curtis said okay:
Club membership is unwanted
By Curtis Seltzer
BLUE GRASS, Va.—A friend from high school buried her 37-year-old daughter last week. Cystic fibrosis. Complications from lung rejection. H1N1 influenza.
She joins me and another friend from those years in a club that none of us wanted to join.
Two of the kids had genetically linked illnesses—cystic fibrosis and a degenerative brain disease. The third had cerebral palsy, which is a brain injury or malformation that occurs before, during or immediately after birth.
All three had to limp through life from the start. They were not to blame; they did nothing wrong. And neither did their parents.
Two were adoptees. Which made no difference.
It’s unlikely that these children would have survived much beyond toddlerhood had they been born 100 years ago.
Technology and drugs now allow us to tamp down seizures, feed through tubes, transplant organs and communicate through computers. We extend burdened lives this way for both young and old. I’m not saying that’s bad, I’m just saying we do things that we can now do, which stretches out these illnesses.
But extension is not cure. Each of these kids had been cursed with a disease that technology, drugs, knowledge, skill and money could not fix. Each set of parents had to face the absence of control and walk their child through a long theft of diminishment.
I knew that my story could not have a happy ending—Batten Disease is always fatal. With the others, there were some maybes, some improvements, some successes, some new stuff, some hopes.
I think it was easier for me to get through this situation, because I knew that we were going to lose since nothing could be done.
It has to be worse to fight as hard as you can for decades—and still lose. A road with reprieves, with hope, is more cruel than one long, steady slide. Hope holds out possibility. But all the ups in these illnesses turn out to be temporary wiggles in a trend line down.
Everyone, of course, loses loved ones. Pain and suffering are just part of how life works. Why some are loaded down with more than a fair share from birth is inexplicable. Time spent on that question is wasted.
With doomed kids, you’re first haunted by the question of what might have been, of what they might have become? Did we lose the next Picasso or Michael Jordan? The next competent plumber? The next Bernie Madoff?
With the old, we ask that question from a different perspective. How would this life have turned differently if this had or had not happened? Had Humphrey Bogart not drunk and smoked so heavily, might he have been spared the esophageal cancer that took him at 57? If Hitler had experienced even modest success as a young painter, might he have found no need to join the Nazi movement after WWI?
It takes a while to realize that big what-ifs are daydreams for beset kids. What is, is what matters.
I’ve never been able to figure out why some kids are picked to be cursed. Some friends say that it’s God’s will, and we’re not supposed to understand. Others say that it’s mostly chance. It’s just bad luck, or, more specifically, being born in the wrong place, or at the wrong time or to the wrong parents.
Very little is fair in life. A burdened child is just one example.
If you think of these kids as just being positioned at a bad spot on the continuum of life’s unfairness where everyone else is standing on the same continuum, a parent might end up feeling a little less singled out and a little less star-crossed.
I suppose that a burdened child who retains mental capacity eventually stops being angry and puzzled. I’ve seen them make the best of their abilities and the years they have.
I’m sure they have a tougher time than those, like mine, whose brain cells died and left him blind, bedridden, unable to eat or communicate, demented and essentially vegetative.
As with all loss and pain, time wears down sharp edges. Distance helps, but distance is not comfort.
It’s possible all of this was easier before the 20th Century when the death of infants and small children was relatively common. Familiarity bred familiarity.
I would like to say, as others have said to me, that they were enriched by this experience. I never felt enriched; I felt robbed. I think better people than me feel privileged.
So I now sadly accept the newest member into our club. Consider your dues paid in full.
Curtis Seltzer is a land consultant, columnist and author of How To Be a DIRT-SMART Buyer of Country Property, available at www.curtis-seltzer.com where his columns are posted. His latest books –Maple-leaf Rags, Snowy Mountain Breakdown, Blue Grass Notes and Land Matters — are available through his website. He writes for www.RoelResouces.com and bimonthly for BackHome Magazine.
Author credit above should be included at the end of each column. Editing for length is permitted. Copyright remains with Curtis Seltzer and applies to the column’s use.
Here are links in chronological order to Curtis’ three article on Frisbee Dave:
Once upon a time, I buried my infant son, who had seemed perfectly healthy until he died in his sleep one night. That’s a different club, I suppose. I told a friend the other day, looking back from now, I wonder if my son was the lucky one? If he was spared something horrible by having such a short life?
yesterday someone told me to google Judge David Audlin scandal and see what came up. So I did that and found a number of links.
As I viewed what came up, I said to myself, and later said to the person who had told me about it, that Judge Audlin must have been really hurting inside, really desperate in some way, to look for love in that way on the Internet, if only in a closed membership club. I said I had called a Keys lawyer I know well, and had asked if he knew about this, and he said it had come out maybe 2 months ago, and afterward Judge Audlin had resigned as senior judge in the local circuit court, and had continued on as a circuit judge otherwise.
The person who told me about it asked if maybe Judge Audlin now having to live with that being on the Internet, perhaps forever, is karma for his holding Robert Krutko
in contempt of court for not taking down allegations online against various Keys and Florida Keys respected citizens, claiming they were part of a conspiracy, with the City of Key West, which had cheated him out of a profitable tour boat business? The plaintiffs then brought a libel lawsuit against Krutko in Key West, and when Krutko did not defend it, he was found by Judge Auldin to be in criminal contempt, even though it was a civil lawsuit.
Judge Audlin then had Krutko extradited from Ohio by State Attorney Dennis Ward, which became a drawn-out court battle in Ohio, which Krutko eventually lost after spending a good while in a jail up there. En route to Key West, Krutko suffered a serious medical emergency and was laid over in a Jacksonville, Florida area hospital for a while. Then, Krutko was brought the rest of the way down to Key West and was held in the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island just above Key West.
After some months in the detention center, Krutko agreed to try to take down the alleged libelous material from the Internet, even though it was known by the plaintiffs and their lawyer, himself a plaintiff and one of the people Krutko allegedly had libeled, and by Judge Audlin, Krutko told me, that in all probability Krutko would not be able to get some, or a lot, of the objected material down from the Internet, because where it was posted was controlled by people who were not willing to take it down.
Krutko was released by Judge Audlin and went back to Ohio and was unable to get all of the objected material taken down. Judge Audlin held Krutko in contempt again, but this time did not order extradition. The result of that probably was: if Krutko was picked up in Ohio for any traffic offense, the contempt order would come up on the law enforcement computer and Krutko would be brought back to Key West again. Krutko then developed cancer. I do not know how he is doing in that regard, or if he is still alive.
This ex-practicing lawyer, by then familiar with Key West and its peculiar brand of bubba justice, personally felt some of what Kutko had put on the Internet probably had some grain of truth in it, but he was not represented by legal counsel in that case and it turned out very badly for him.
Prodded by Krutko, I went to the Clerk of the Court’s Office in Key West and looked through the court file of his case and was unable to find a return of service on Krutko, who had told me he was residing in Ohio when the lawsuit was filed. I did not see court records which satisfied me that Krutko had received due process of law in the libel lawsuit. Perhaps I did not look carefully enough in the court file. Perhaps there was something in it, which I did not see. Perhaps there was another court file, which the clerk did not see when she helped me.
I told the person who had asked me about karma, yes, that’s what it looks like to me: it stems from the Krutko case, and Judge Audlin now is unable to get taken down from the Internet what he himself put into a membership group, and then someone else published it elsewhere on the Internet, and there probably is nothing that can be done about it.
Just this week, Judge Audlin ruled Balfour Beatty and its successors in interest owe no land taxes on Navy Land sold by the US Navy to Balfour Beatty in Key West. Part of that Navy land is Peary Court, about which I have written a number of times lately.
There is a prickly article about Judge Audlin’s decision in the current www.thebluepaper.com edition. Here is a direct link to that article:
Not having before me what Judge Audlin was looking at when he made that decision, I don’t know whether I agree with his opinion, or not. I read in the Key West Citizen that Judge Auldin’s ruling is being appealed, so that’s another stay-tuned situation.
From yesterday’s Coconut Telegraph “citizen’s voice” page at www.bigpinekey.com:
[“Catholic Church Continued”] Jesus was a communist before the term was ever thought of–something for everyone. What’s wrong with that? Are you saying Jesus sucks because he’s a dirty, low-down communist?
I understand your prejudice when defending Mother Church, but sometimes words mean what they say. Your interpretation that the facts I “gleefully regaled” wasn’t so. I wasn’t gleeful, I was weeping for the Church. Why should I specify what good the church has done? If you don’t know already, why are you defending them? What’s the root of your defensive posture? Maybe you can understand this capsulization of my opinion: The Catholic Church needs a long overdue enema and Pope Francis might be just the guy to do it.
I agree. Locally, I hope Mary Star of the Sea and is Miami Diocese give serious consideration to building an assisted-living elders facility on stilts above Mary Star of the Sea’s big back lot, which is used for parking during church serves by its congregants. If the elder facility is elevated, the parking area still could be used for parking during church services, and the so-far undoable new elder facility would finally have a home in Key West, adjacent to the city’s central thoroughfare, Truman Avenue, aka US 1.
I see in the Key West Citizen today
where the US Coast Guard just recently went out and rescued a modern knock off of an old sailing ship, which had lost use of its rudder. I was glad to see the Coast Guard on the job, but wondered about when Arnaud Girard recently told the Coast Guard that Tugboat Tilly was in distress in the shipping channel and sure to sink, and the Coast Guard did not respond, all of which drama was acutely reported in www.thebluepaper.com a few times.
From Kurt Wagner yesterday:
To: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: KWPD Coverup
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2014 10:46:11 -0500
Why is it that the news papers in Key West are not publishing anything about the death of Charles Eimer at the hands of the KWPD? If not for The Blue Paper and Sloan Bashinsky’s blog, nothing is ever said about Donnie Lee’s jack booted thugs.
Naja and Arnaud
firstname.lastname@example.org is the email address of the publisher of the Coconut Telegraph.
Here’s a link to this week’s Blue Paper article on the Eimers case, and below it is Arnaud Girard’s editorial new cartoon on that case. The article contains a link to all previous blue paper articles on that Happy Thanksgiving Day tourist development extravaganza.
I suppose that’s yet another stay-tuned situation.
moi having breakfast at Harpoon Harry’s, where I’m headed after I get this stay-tuned edition published today
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Sloan Bashinsky, for Mayor of Key West